Getting Started with Calibre

Getting to know new tools can feel daunting, which is why we created this guide to help you get started and be successful in establishing a reliable performance monitoring system. You can always explore all features or contact our friendly support team if you have any questions.

Step 1: Add your sites to Calibre

To receive performance metrics and reports, we have to start by adding sites to monitor. To add a site, choose from 14 global test locations, a name and provide a URL to be tested. Calibre allows you to test unlimited sites and pages, without any extra cost. By default, we’ll be running tests every 6 hours.

After creating the site, you’ll be able to configure its settings, such as where it’s tested from, how often, under which Test Profiles, add additional pages and more.

Step 2: Configure test environments

When you have successfully added sites and pages to track, it’s time to determine under what conditions they will be tested. Test Profiles allow you to set up a combination of testing scenarios that cover a wide range of user experiences.

You can emulate devices, network speeds, authenticate into your applications, disable ads or specific third party vendors. Calibre will automatically create two baseline Test Profiles for you:

  • Chrome Desktop with a Cable connection
  • Motorola Moto G4 with a regular 3G connection

We have selected these two Test Profiles to get you started with an accurate portrayal of two opposite ends of the performance spectrum, based on global averages. Mix and match settings to create comprehensive user testing scenarios relevant to your audience. We especially recommend disabling ads and testing without third parties.

Step 3: Set Performance Budgets

Budgets are a great way of making sure that when the performance of your sites deteriorates, you will be instantly notified and able to act on regressions. You can set budgets against any metric available in Calibre and apply them to specific pages and Test Profiles.

You can be notified when a budget is met or blown in two ways: through email or Slack alert posted to a chosen channel.

It’s a great idea to create a dedicated a general #performance-metrics channel or a dedicated #projectName-alerts channel so your entire team can keep an eye on speed improvements and regressions.

We recommend starting with setting budgets against several metrics that describe user experience most accurately, such as:

It’s also worth keeping an eye on the Lighthouse Performance Score as it not only provides a more high-level view of performance but also contributes to how your sites are ranked in Google.

Step 4: Enable Insights reports

Knowing how your metrics change over time lies at the heart of successful performance monitoring. Calibre does the heavy lifting and generates a weekly or monthly Insights report for each of your sites that you can opt into.

Insights will provide crucial information on performance trends through showcasing pages and metrics with the most significant changes.

To increase the visibility of the performance changes included in the reports, you can forward them to relevant teammates who aren’t Calibre users or create a dedicated mailing list.

Step 5: Set up Pull Request Reviews

A majority of performance regressions are preventable when using pre-production monitoring. With Pull Request Reviews, you’re able to see the performance impact of your work before it affects your customers.

A comprehensive comparison of your production (or staging) environment and the changes made in the Pull Request will be posted as a comment, accessible to anyone using GitHub. You can enable Pull Request Reviews for any selected site.

Step 6: Automate your performance system

Once you have the basics covered, you could leverage the Node.js API and command-line interface to automate running tests, site management, and enable deployment tracking.

All of the data Calibre collects is retrievable, so you can transform it to your needs and send to any services you might be using (for example: visualise performance metrics in your office with Geckoboard).

Once you have completed these steps, you can continue your journey with Calibre by discovering all features or reaching out to our technical support team for help in establishing your performance strategy.